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Theory: Classical Conditioning

Learning is the permanent change to an individuals behavior or knowledge. The act of


classically conditioning someone focuses on the learning of involuntary emotional or
physiological responses such as fear, increased muscle tension, salivation, or sweating.
These sometimes are called respondents because they are automatic responses to stimuli.
(Woolfolk, Winne, & Perry, 2013)

Difference
s

Contiguity

We remember
things when
we find

Similariti
es

Respondents: responses (automatic or involuntary) elicited by a given stimuli


Contiguity is the associations of 2 events because of the repeated pairing this plays a
major role in the process of classical conditioning. (Woolfolk, Winne, & Perry, 2013)

Pavlovs Dog

Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist was best known for his work with classical
conditioning. He worked by pairing the noise of a tuning fork with the presence of food
for the dog to form an association between the food and the noise. The unconditioned
stimulus was the food and the unconditioned response was the salivation (elicited
automatically). When the unconditioned stimulus was combined with a neutral stimulus
such as a tuning fork the dogs could become conditioned to salivate after hearing the
tuning fork. The sound had become a conditioned stimulus that could bring forth
salivation by itself. The response of salivating after the tone was now a conditioned
respons. (Woolfolk, Winne, & Perry, 2013)

In the classroom:
This can be applied in the classroom and have a positive influence on students by
conditioning students to be more adaptive of their emotional responses with certain
classroom situations. For example students are conditioned to know there are
consequences if the teacher is counting down from a given number and actually reaches
1; for example: extra homework if 1 is reached and students are not quiet. Educators need
to know about classical conditioning to pair neutral stimulus with a conditioned response
for students. By having a neutral stimulus for students, this reduces emotional
involvement by both teachers and students for example raising your voice, dismissing
students from the classroom and emotional levels of the students rising.
Teachers actions
Need for students to learn
multiplication tables

Students Behavior
Do not know the answers

Use of a calculator to find


the answer
Allows students to use their
calculator to find the correct
answer and memorize the
multiplication tables
Asks students to recite their
multiplication tables
without a calculator

Able to give the correct


answer
Able to give the correct
answer

Teachers actions
Counts down from 10

Students Behavior
Will not know to sit down
Students sit down
Students sit down

After conditioning

Asks students to sit down


Counts down from 10 and
asks students to sit down
Counts down from 10

Before conditioning

Teachers actions
Claps three times

Students Behavior
Will not know to sit down

Asks students to stop


working
Claps three times and asks
students to stop working
Claps three times

Students stop working

Before conditioning

During conditioning

After conditioning

Before conditioning
During conditioning

During conditioning
After conditioning

Able to give the correct


answer

Students sit down

Students stop working


Students stop working

By conditioning students they are able to learn the expectations of the teacher, the school
and hold themselves accountable for their actions. Students can self regulate their actions

and assist their peers in the learning process by knowing these expectations as they are
conditioned in a positive fashion.

Theory: Operant Conditioning


Operant conditioning occurs because as humans we learn to operate in a certain
environment based on the rewards or punishments that we associate to particular
behaviors. The voluntary behavior is strengthened or weakened based on consequences or
rewards. (Woolfolk, Winne, & Perry, 2013)

Reinforcement: the use of consequences to


strengthened behavior
Behavior -> Reinforcer -> Strengthened or repeated behavior
a) Positive reinforcement: after the behavior there is a desirable stimulus
b) Negative reinforcement: after the behavior there is a removal of the undesirable
stimulus

Punishment: process that weakens or suppresses


behavior
Behaviour -> Punisher -> Weakened or decreased behaviour
a) Presentation punishment: decreasing the likelihood of the behavior occurring
because there is a chance of introducing an aversive stimulus
b) Removal punishment: decreasing the likelihood of the behavior occurring because
there is a chance of removing a desirables stimulus

Reinforcement Schedules
Schedule

Definition

Example

Response
Pattern

Continuous

Reinforcement
after every
response

Constant praise
after every
math question

Rapid learning
of response

Fixed-interval

Reinforcement
after a set
period of time

Weekly
homework
checks

Variableinterval

Reinforcement
after varying
lengths of time
Reinforcement
after a set
number of
responses

Pop quizzes

Increase
response rate as
reinforcement
times
approaches
Slow and
steady

Fixed-ratio

Piece work

Rapid response
rate

Reaction when
reinforcement
stops
Lack of
persistence,
behaviour stops
when response
stops
Rapid response
before and after
the
reinforcement
Increased
persistence
Lack of
persistence

Variable-ratio

Reinforcement
after a varying
number of
responses

Gambling slot High response


machines
rate

Increased
persistence,
stays high

In the classroom:
Teachers are more likely to use operant conditioning rather than conditioning. It is
important for students to understand rewards and punishments (consequences) for their
actions. Positive behavior needs to be praised but not consistently on a continuous level
but not ignored hence potentially having a lack of effort by the student. Negative
behaviour needs to be conditioned out of the students hence contributing to a positive
healthy learning environment for all parties involved.
Praise needs to be tied directly to a given behavior as well as specific to their
action but the students character/personality.
Praise also needs to avoid the comparison between other students; hence it is
focused on a given accomplishment in relation to a student about their effort. Avoid
alluding to success being based on luck, extra help or that the material is easy.